June 25, 2009
Dr. Daniel C. Orey
Thank you for contacting me regarding your support of H.R.1024, the Uniting American Families Act of 2009. I appreciate hearing from you on this important piece of legislation.
The Uniting American Families Act amends current immigration law to afford homosexual couples the same immigration rights currently enjoyed by heterosexual couples. By defining adults in committed, intimate relationships as "permanent partners," the legislation extends the rights currently available to legally married individuals to all life-long partners, regardless of sexual orientation. You will be pleased to know that I am an original co-sponsor of this important piece of legislation aimed at eliminating discriminatory provisions within our immigration laws, and that I will continue to advocate for equality among all people.
H.R. 1024 was introduced on February 12, 2009, and has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law, where it is pending further action. As a co-sponsor of the legislation, I will keep your thoughts in mind should the legislation reach the House floor for a vote.
Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding this important piece of legislation. To learn more about my work in Congress, or to sign up for periodic e-mail updates, please visit my website at .
Thursday, June 25, 2009
I just got a phone call from a well placed source on Capital Hill that confirmed that the hate crimes bill currently before the Senate will be added to the Defense Authorization Bill. Remember how well that worked out for us last time?
Congressmembers can use our lives to bargain for bombs and defense spending instead of simply affirming our dignity as human beings worthy of safety from persecution and violence if hate crimes are added to the defense authorization.
You need to call your Senator NOW and ask them to save the hate crimes bill from certain death! If it's added to the defense authorization bill it will be the death of hate crimes this year.
You can look up your Senator's direct phone number here or call (202) 224-3121 and tell them to SAVE THE HATE CRIMES BILL.
To reply to this message, follow the link below:
Californians Against Hate began requesting your 990s (IRS non-profit tax filings) over three months ago, Maggie. You have not responded as required by law. We visited your national office in Princeton , N.J. twice to view the Form 990s, and sent our requests there by certified mail.
Someone at that address signed the US Postal Service receipt on April 25, 2009. You then had 30 days to comply with our request, but you still have not sent us your federal tax flings for 2007 and 2008.
We have also been to your “office” in Manassas , VA , and no forms there either, Maggie. It looks to be the home of your Treasurer, Neil Corkery. The Corkerys are apparently traveling around the world, and again, the forms are not available for public inspection as required by federal law.
Are you trying to hide all the involvement by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) who we believe created and funded the National Organization for Marriage, Inc.? That is exactly what the California Fair Political Practices Commission is investigating (Case # 08/735) right now.
As you are probably aware, the IRS fine for noncompliance is $20.00 per day for every day that you do not turn over your records up to a total of $10,000. For the 92 days so far, you owe the United States Treasury $1,840. While that won’t put much of a dent in the national debt, it is what you owe the government so far in fines. Frankly, Maggie, we are tired of waiting, and are exploring other actions to force the release of your filings.
In another very interesting development, we received a letter from the IRS last week in response to the request that we filed with them on May 6, 2009 for your Form 990s. The IRS said that, “we have no record of any organization by the name (National Organization for Marriage, Inc.) or address ( 20 Nassau Street, Ste. 242 , Princeton , N.J 08542). Now, can you explain that?? They do have a record of your Educational Fund, the 501(c)3, but that apparently was just established last year. NOM, Inc. was established in May 2007 to get Prop 8 on the ballot, so there should be 2 annual filings available on NOM, Inc.
Maggie, why don’t you do the right thing and release your 2007 and 2008 form 990’s? Just what is in there about your funding and expenditures that you don’t want people to see?
A recent Washington Post story had this to say about the Mormon Church’s involvement in the same-sex marriage battles in six Northeastern States.
Mormon officials have tried to stay out of the controversy that followed the California vote, when the church's prominent role in the marriage fight became clear. A spokeswoman in Salt Lake City declined to say whether the church is involved in debates going on in states such as New Jersey and New York , except to say that leaders remain intent on preserving the "divine institution" of marriage between man and woman. The faith holds that traditional marriage "transcends this world" and is necessary for "the fullness of joy in the next life."
That Admission by the Mormon Church Raises Many More Questions.
Who is paying for your multi million dollar TV campaign? Who is funding your $500,000 New York State PAC? Your California PAC? Who is paying for all the direct mail robo-calls and millions of direct connect calls in New York alone? Where did you get the $6 million that you admit to spending as reported this week in your hometown newspaper, The Journal News: LoHud.com ?
How much are you and your executive director Brian Brown getting paid? Is the Mormon Church paying you directly or through another one of your other organizations like the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy
Is the Mormon Church producing all of your slick new commercials? Your controversial and often maligned A Gathering Storm commercial that was made using actors pretending to be real people was chock full of Mormon actors, mostly from Arizona . Most of the bad actors on your audition tapes appear to be Mormon as well. We have that documented.
Just how much money is the Mormon Church spending now to fight same-sex marriage in at least 7 states? Mormon families spent close to $30 million in California to pass Proposition 8 last year. The Mormon Church has likely spent tens of millions of dollars directly throughout the country on all their efforts to stop gay marriage since they hired the world’s largest PR firm, Hill and Knowlton, in 1988. It even appears that the Mormon Church, through its Public Affairs Committee, was monitoring same-sex marriage activities and involved in Canada as well.
We know that the Mormon Church has not been truthful about all of its involvement in opposing same-sex marriage for 20 years. We have seen ample evidence of this in the Church documents that we received.
When we filed our complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission last November, Mormon Church officials first said they spent “zero dollars on Prop 8.” Then 3 months after the election, they finally admitted to have made $190,000 in non-monetary contributions. Nearly all of that was supposedly spent the week before the election.
They later changed their story again, saying that the $117,000 reported in Salt Lake City staff time ($96,000) and facilities’ usage ($20,500) was not actually spent just on election day as they had reported to the California Secretary of State. According to Church spokesman Scott Trotter, the staff time included work between August and November. Well, then shouldn’t there have been other expenditures in August or even July and September? Come on Maggie, tell the truth!
The Mormon Church announced its active participation to pass Proposition 8 in the now famous letter read from Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church. This rare act took place on June 29, 2008, and was read to every Mormon in the Western United States. President Monson called on all Mormons to give of “your time and your means to pass Proposition 8.”
Well, it worked. As we now know, the Mormon Church took over every aspect of the Yes on 8 campaign, and was largely responsible for its passage.
Please, Maggie, tell America the truth for once about where your millions of dollars are coming from. We are a country of laws, and we have the right to know.
Please Help Us Keep Up the Fight Against NOM
Send Whatever You Can By Using the Link Below
On Friday 1st May, the newly formed Brighton University’s STAR group helped organise and back a candle lit vigil by Iraqi LGBT Lifeline.
This inaugural event for Brighton STAR, which has recently been set up, was an act of important solidarity with a refugee community under particular threat.
Iraqi LGBT Lifeline is made up of Iraqi LGBT exiles, who themselves are living as asylum seekers.
Daily fearing return to this dreadful situation, they are trying to raise funds to keep open a network of safe houses in Iraq for LGBT to take refuge, so that they too can escape their tormentors.
The Lifeline also acts as a vital news network to report on what is happening to Iraqi LGBT out of Iraq.
Iraqi LGBT Lifeline estimates that, since December 2004, there have been as many as six hundred homophobically inspired murders of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people or those perceived to be – including children who have been forced into the sex trade.
In the past four months alone as many as sixty-five bodies of those suspected of being “homosexual” have turned up with notes attached to their bodies with the word “pervert” written in Arabic.
These figures do not include those who have survived homophobically inspired kidnapping, involving physical assault which often consists of sexual humiliation including repeated gang rape.
Those who assist LGBT people and give them refuge in safe houses do so at their own expense and at risk to their own lives, as do those who try to get information out of Iraq. Recently two lesbians were butchered along with the 12-year-old boy they had rescued from the “sex trade”. Those responsible for murders such as these are not just Shiite death squads, but also members of the Iraqi police and Ministry of Interior.
LGBT people are also subject to so called “honour killings” carried out by tribal and family members “shamed” by their lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans relatives.
Homosexuality is not specifically illegal under the Iraqi criminal code however, LGBT people cannot seek the assistance of the police, who have launched their own crackdown on “homosexuals”. Sadly, the situation for LGBT was much better under the secular Saddam regime in which they were more shielded from this new spate of religiously inspired homophobia.
Brighton Star Group urges you to sign up to be a friend of the Iraqi LGBT facebook group , as they really need your support.
To reply to this message, follow the link below:
THE MORNING BUZZ
June 25, 2009
No excuses anymore. Now, BuzzFlash will get you any book, DVD, or CD for the retail price plus $5 for shipping and handling! So why give your money to a big corporation, when the book, DVD or CD you were going to buy can benefit building a progressive, populist journalism infrastructure?
Just e-mail BuzzFlash@BuzzFlash.com with what you want, and we will get it for you!
So fight back against FOX every time you purchase a book, DVD or CD from BuzzFlash!
Hate Talkers United: Sean Hannity's Past Relationship with Neo-Nazi, Anti-Semite and Now Arrested Hal Turner -- A BuzzFlash Editor's Blog
June 17, 2009 8:07PM
HRC President Joe Solmonese issued the following statement tonight on the President’s benefits memorandum:
“Moments ago in the Oval Office, President Obama signed a memorandum committing his administration to adhere to principles ensuring that the federal workplace is free from discrimination, including the extension of some benefits to same-sex partners of federal workers. This first step granting benefits such as giving federal employees the ability to provide their partners with access to long-term insurance and requiring supervisors to extend leave policies so that LGBT employees can take care of their loved ones, is a welcome and long-overdue movement towards bringing the government’s policies in line with the overwhelming majority of America’s businesses.
Earlier today, OPM Director John Berry affirmatively stated that this newly signed presidential memorandum will give him the authority to ban workplace discrimination for all members of the LGBT community.
Although today’s actions are only the beginning in what will be a multi-step process towards achieving real and tangible equality for our community, it is no doubt an important first step. We commend President Obama and his administration for taking this action to provide some basic benefits for same-sex partners of federal employees and his endorsement of legislation that would provide domestic partner health benefits.
Presidential leadership can be a powerful tool as we work to protect LGBT people under the law and President Obama’s continued leadership is what we need and expect as we move forward.
Video of President Barack Obama signing a memo extending some benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees:
A CNN news package featuring HRC’s Joe Solmonese:
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he Assembly was running a little behind schedule this caused someone seated behind me to comment: “If I ran a meeting this way, people would have my head.” That comment about the inefficiency of democratic government brought to mind a quip from Winston Churchill “Democracy is the worst form of government, until it is compared with all others.”
The highly ornate nineteenth century Assembly chamber’s interior looked like a wedding cake executed in stone, plaster and wood. The beautiful crystal chandeliers with their gas-light globes reminded me of another time. I recalled Tsar Alexander II’s attempt to establish a parliamentary system in Russia. A parliamentary system was about to be introduced in Russia, this prompted anarchists to assassinate the Tsar. He had also freed the serfs over the objections of his nobles and banned the use of torture. How different Russia would be today if he had not been murdered. His son Alexander III became a rigid reactionary abandoned all movement towards democratic government and ruled with an iron fist. Taking Russia backwards and setting the stage for the eventual revolution.
Rabbi Denise Eger from Congregation Kol Ami in West Hollywood took her position behind the podium before the California State Assembly and delivered an invocation, which opened the legislative session. She called upon the Holy One in the language of Abraham and Moses asking for justice and healing for our State. Her words reminded us of how we had moved backwards as a State on November 4th of 2008.
The first item for a vote was a resolution by Assembly Member John Perez to designate June as LGBT Pride month for California. Assembly Member Tom Ammiano co-sponsored the resolution. Some Republicans predictably opposed it. Assembly Member Gains (R) voiced his opposition and went into a seemingly interminable speech.
In essence, his cardinal point was that this constituted “a waste” of the Assembly’s time when we face a budget crisis. Of course, an Assembly member could have made the same comment in 1959 if the Assembly was considering a resolution honoring African or Latino persons. The fact that most Republicans had simply decided to take the time “off” and not appear in Chamber did not offend Mr. Gains’ work ethic. Perhaps, they were all slaving away on other more important issues in their offices.
The Speaker of the Assembly refocused his rambling speech back to the item up for a vote, reminding Mr. Gains that the budget was being addressed. The vote was taken and less than six members voted against the resolution. Those members simply walked out of the chamber when their defeat was posted on the Assembly’s vote monitors. It was reminiscent of grammar school and the reaction of some kids who would storm off when they lost a game.
At this point the various honorees were escorted into the chamber and received their awards, these included:
Ivy Bottini, a graphic artist, actor, comedian, director and mother. She helped found the first chapter of the National Organization for Women.
Jose Sarria, A veteran of World War II who played an integral role in shaping the modern LGBT rights movements.
Helen Zia for shedding light on the many issues that challenge the Asian American and LGBT communities and for her long and continued involvement in Asian American and LGBT causes, and family violence prevention.
Retired Brigadier General Keith Kerr, CSMR was honored for his lifelong service to the US Army and the California State Military Reserve and for his commitment to fighting for equal rights for LGBT service members.
Miss Major for her work with the transgender community, for working to combat HIV/AIDS, and for mentoring many of today’s transgender leaders to stand tall and defend their human rights.
Bienestar Human Services for its pioneering efforts to provide crucial and lifesaving services to neglected populations, specifically the LGBT Latino/Latina community.
Megan Hogan was honored for her courageous leadership in the face of adversity and for her efforts to promote tolerance and mutual respect for all people. Megan just graduated from Winston High School in Del Mar California where she was the co-president of the student body, a teacher of American Sign Language and the President of the Diversity Club/Gay Straight Alliance.
Finally, myself, I thought about the people I had met in twenty-three years of service. The young Latina lesbian who cautiously asked me to help her “come out” to her mother and the young man with the look of terror in his eyes when he said to me “Father, I’m gay.” The gay priests and members of the hierarchy many of them live double lives. Clergy who in their own zealous self-loathing have pushed LGBT persons and their loved ones out of the Catholic Church. Current official pronouncements by the hierarchy that have made LGBT Catholics feel unwelcome, unloved, inferior human refuse that are “tolerated” at best and then only conditionally so.
As I read about Megan, I looked up and saw a courageous young woman with surgically implanted electronics which gave her some hearing. This young woman accompanied by her specially trained hearing dog possessed a courage which I have rarely witnessed. I had a flashback to my bishop. He sternly warned that gay students would be permitted to meet on Catholic HS campuses and organize support groups, if Prop 8 were defeated. I wonder what he would say to Megan? I wonder what she would say to him?
Here we all were in California's Capitol building on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots,that transforming day when LGBT people said ENOUGH! Our state legislature was the first in the U.S.A., which passed full marriage equality laws TWICE. Both times the Republican governor vetoed the bills saying that this is an issue, which should be decided by the Courts. Ironically, Republicans moan and wail about “activist judges.”
I am proud of our State legislature, of their vision, their commitment to justice and equality. I am proud of Justice Moreno and his dissenting opinion to the State Supreme Court's narrow and shortsighted ruling on Prop 8. I am heartened by our Governor’s comments in support of full marriage equality for all Californians. I am inspired by people like Megan, who despite all odds and opposition bravely fight for what is right. The struggle for justice continues. In October, we march on Washington, D.C.